Before last season, Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball coach Steve Palmer asked his players what their goals were.

Before last season, Worthington Kilbourne High School girls basketball coach Steve Palmer asked his players what their goals were.

"We challenged them," he said. "We said, 'You've had two 3-18 seasons. Are you OK with that? Or do you want something different? You guys have to be ones that change that around.'"

"From the beginning of the season, our whole team dynamic was different," senior guard Marissa Elliott said. "We were more together as a team. We worked with each other instead of against each other."

The Wolves earned three more wins than they did in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons combined, finishing 9-12 overall after losing to Olentangy Liberty 39-26 in the first round of the Division I district tournament.

Palmer wants his team to continue on the same path this season.

"Hopefully the younger girls on last year's team saw what happened and they're going to take that and keep moving forward," he said.

Kilbourne, which opens Friday, Nov. 25, at Ready, returns a handful of playmakers from last season, including Elliott (5-foot-7), senior Mary Francis Gardner (6-0 forward) and juniors Lauren Barnhart (5-6 guard), Maria Calvert (5-9 forward) and Kayla Pack (5-8 guard).

Last season, Gardner averaged 7.5 points and 7.6 rebounds and had 27 blocks. Elliott averaged 6.3 points and had 36 steals, and Pack averaged 5.8 points and made 44 of 69 free throws.

Also on the team are senior Jillisa Blake (5-7 forward) and juniors Sienna Haslup (5-9 forward), Hannah Loveday (5-9 forward), Alex Malone (5-6 guard) and Mackenzie Wilson (5-8 guard). Loveday is a transfer from Gallipolis.

For the second consecutive year, the Wolves don't have enough players for a freshman team and Palmer is concerned about the program's depth.

"We don't have a lot of kids in the program," Palmer said. "We have just six kids who were tested (at the varsity level last season). If we can keep the girls on the floor, we're going to be OK."

"We're not very deep, so we have to be very concerned with getting into foul trouble," Elliott said. "That's going to be our key to victory this year."

Kilbourne opens OCC-Central Division play Dec. 2 at Thomas Worthington. The Wolves went 5-9 in the league last season to tie Central Crossing for fifth, behind Upper Arlington (13-1), Dublin Coffman (11-3), Hilliard

Davidson (10-4) and Thomas (9-5) and ahead of Hilliard Darby (3-11) and Westland (0-14).

"I think the league's going to be wide open," Palmer said. "We would like to make a solid showing since this our last year in the conference."

Kilbourne will move into the OCC-Cardinal next school year as part of OCC realignment.